Government medical services in Sarawak is going downhill. Not only there is overcrowding in Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching, Kapit is now hit with an acute shortage of medical personnel.

Malaysia seem to be more engross in the political doldrums in Perak or protesting about the teaching of Maths and Science in English. And if the government think there is money, they send a space tourist to space and budgeting for billion ringgit purchase of new helicopters.

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From TheBorneoPost

Only five medical officers for 120,000 Kapit folk
By James Ling

KAPIT: There is an acute shortage of medical personnel in Kapit Division with just five medical officers (MOs) and one surgeon attending to a population of 120,000.

The situation was further compounded early this week, when three Kapit Hospital MOs were sent for a course outstation from Monday to Thursday (March 2-5), leaving just one MO and a surgeon during that period.

Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) Kapit branch chairman Edward Manggah called on the government to act immediately and assign more MOs to Kapit.

He said the lack of doctors was a nightmare for those seeking medical treatment.

To illustrate his point, Edward said his grandson had gone to the polyclinic for treatment on Thursday at 7.30am and was only attended to around noon because there was only one MO and hundreds of patients waiting their turn.

“We can’t refer our sick people to the nearest hospital like Sibu Hospital, which is better equipped with many specialists within the day because we have no road link to other towns.

“We have to depend on the FDS (Flying Doctor Service) for medical evacuations and most of the time these are not successful because there’s no seat or the flight is cancelled due to cloudy weather,” said Edward.

He added that the lack of manpower was also taking a toll on medical personnel in the division.

“The problem is there are not enough doctors. The poor doctor has to work round the clock. He serves not just office hours from 8am to 5pm, but on call. In short he works 24 hours a day,” he said.

Edward, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Pelagus Division secretary, suggested the government offer special allowances and free passage once a year as incentives for senior civil servants to work in Kapit.

“Like Sibu Hospital, there are a lot of doctors because of the good facilities. They can fill the quota easily because doctors are willing to serve there. But Kapit is a different scenario,” he said.

Kapit Chinese Chamber of Commerce chairman Kho Chiaw Chai said the Ministry of Health must address the issue of unfair distribution of MOs throughout the country.

“I know a small town in Perak known as Sungai Siput near to Ipoh. A small district with a small population, but the hospital there is served by 11 MOs, meaning to say the quota is fully filled.

“So actually there is an unfair distribution of MOs. I think the ministry has to study the root cause,” said Kho.

Kapit Coffee Shop and Restaurant Owners Association (KCROA) chairman Ma Tian Ho also expressed disappointment with the current situation.

“The government has put up the physical facilities and equipment, but they are under utilised. You see Song Polyclinic costs RM15 million, Beletih Polyclinic RM19 million and now Belaga Polyclinic is RM17 million.

“What we want is the manpower. You see there are no MOs in Song or Belaga. Kapit Hospital has four MOs and a surgeon, Beletih Polyclinic one MO, Song Polyclinic none and Belaga Clinic none,” said Ma.

When contacted, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Economic Planning) Larry Sng said he has raised the issue with the State Health Department and they had assured him that they will transfer a doctor from Sarawak General Hospital to serve here.

“This is just a temporary measure until more doctors are trained and qualified to serve in Kapit.

“I understand that there is an acute shortage of doctors and surgeons throughout Sarawak. Nonetheless I urge the Health Department to quickly address this issue,” said Sng.

“I feel most sympathetic towards the existing medical staff who are working tirelessly to attend to the needs of the people. But how much can each doctor do when he or she has only two hands,” he added.

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